Remember when we gathered to watch Curiosity land and had to wait so long to see that picture of a shadow? A Jet Propulsion Laboratory project wants to make that experience better. The project is called Opals (Optical Payload for Lasercomm Science) and it is testing lasers for transferring data from spacecraft to Earth.
According to Aviation Week, “the Opals project has produced an experiment that will beam data down from the ISS [International Space Station] to a telescope in Wrightwood, Calif. The principal goal is to develop the software needed to aim the laser with enough accuracy to transmit a 10-sec. test video, using the laser beam to carry the digital signal.”
MEng alumnus Bogdan Oaida is the Project Systems Engineer for Opals. He says, “What we're really interested in demonstrating is our ability to point and track.”
Opals plans to launch their hardware next July.
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